Rezoning and Baltimore Country Club

In the next two weeks, City Council is expected to finalize the first Zoning overhaul in 45 years, known as Transform Baltimore which will effect the entire city. For the past 5 years, RP Civic League has been actively involved in this process. Within the last month, Baltimore Country Club has seized this opportunity to request the highest density in residential zoning possible to maximize the economic value of their land, which may be at the expense of existing home values. Your participation and action is urgently needed now, please read the letter that follows from Civic League President, Ian McFarlane.

“Dear Neighbors,

This is a very important letter to residents about a threat to the character of Roland Park. The issue: whether a developer could put a subdivision on Baltimore Country Club (BCC) land that is more densely built than the rest of our historic neighborhood.

The BCC has hired the experienced political lobbying team of Harris, Jones & Malone and is threatening litigation in an effort to win zoning that would allow well more than 100 homes on the open space that sweeps up from Falls Road to their clubhouse. They have timed their effort for the 11th hour of the city’s long effort to establish new zoning for all properties in Baltimore.

Our elected representatives are feeling the pressure of these hired guns. We need you to contact your City Council representative – Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton or Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke – and ask for her continued support to protect our zoning.

Please tell the City Council to stand with its Baltimore City constituents. Zoning lasts for generations. It is of the utmost importance that the zoning on the BCC land should reflect the actual homes and lots of the surrounding community.

Currently, the BCC’s open space is surrounded by homes on lots from about 10,000 to 64,000 square feet. The average for these nearby lots is 22,000 square feet.

The BCC wants their zoning to allow one house on every 9,000 square feet. There is not a single home surrounding the property that has such a small lot. With this zoning, if BCC were to sell the property to a developer, they would be able to construct well more than 100 houses on the 32-acre parcel.

On behalf of the residents of Roland Park, the Civic League (RPCL) advocates that the BCC land be zoned R-1-C (21,780 sq. ft.) or R-1-D (14,420 sq. ft.). This would allow construction of roughlyhalf the number of houses on the land versus what BCC is proposing.

It is true that most of Roland Park is currently zoned for one house on every 7,300 feet. But that zoning does not reflect the neighborhood’s actual construction. The average lot size for all of the homes west of Roland Avenue, not just the houses next to the country club, is 18,000 square feet. We are trying to preserve the integrity of the neighborhood, as it exists in reality.

Background: Transform Baltimore, the City’seffort to establish new zoning, has been underway since 2010.  One of its stated goals is “to preserve the character of residential neighborhoods.”

Our community conducted an open, transparent process to state our recommendations, as the Transform Baltimore process required. In 2010, 2011and 2013, the RPCL Land Use Committee wrote letters to the City’s Planning Department requesting numerous zoning changes concerning local schools, businesses, and the BCC land. Over the years, RPCL representatives have met with City officials to discuss the community’srecommendations, and have testified on the matter at two public hearings. City Councilwoman Middleton has been with the RPCL every step of the way.

On Friday, September 23rd, BCC wrote a letter to its membership asking them to contact Councilwoman Middleton and urge her to change her mind. In the letter, there were many misunderstandings. But several statements stand out as so egregious the RPCL feels it is important to set the record straight.

First, BCC says that the RPCL is reneging on a previous zoning deal. They say the RPCL agreed to let them have the 9,000-square-foot zoning. This is false.

RPCL officials are unaware of any deal. We are a community organization that is governed by an elected board. Everything we do must be discussed and voted on. Our process is deliberate, transparent, and requires collective board action. Our board has never deliberated on any zoning issue regarding the BCC property other than the R1-C/D position articulated the letters referenced above.

Second, BCC says the RPCL is trying to downzone and devalue their land so the neighborhood can purchase it. This is also false. No matter who owns the land, zoning to match the surrounding community is of utmost importance. There are more than 200 neighborhoods in Baltimore City, all working to protect the unique character of their communities. We are no different.

Finally, BCC has told their members that the RPCLhas made one “low ball and convoluted offer which made absolutely no economic sense.” In fact, Roland Park has made seven offers to the BCC in 17 years, not one of which was accepted. In 2015, the Roland Park Community Foundation hired an independent appraiser to establish the fair market value of the land, using the highest and best use of the land to determine price. An offer was then made at that price. It was rejected.


Please email or call your City Council representative – Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton or Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke – today.  Thank her for consistently standing with the Roland Park community, and ask her to please do it again.  410-396-4832 410-396-4814

In Baltimore City Land Use decisions, the other members of the City Council vote in support of the City Council person who represents the area in question.  Please also emailor call the other City Council members on the Land Use Committee and thank them for supporting Councilwoman Middleton and respecting “councilperson courtesy” in deciding what is best in her district. 410-396-4804 410-396-4822 410-396-4821 410-396-4829 410-396-4830 410-396-4810

In order to preserve and protect the unique historic character of Roland Park, it’s vital that we ask our elected City Council Representativestoday to:

1.    Reject BCC’s demand for R-1-E zoning and support the RPCL’s request for R-1-C or R-1-D zoning on the land.
2.    Remember that Roland Park has one of the highest tax bases in the City and that we cannot afford to have our properties devalued by inconsistent zoning.
3.    Remember that we are trying to preserve the integrity of our neighborhood.  By voting for (on behalf of) the Roland Park community they are sending a strong message that City neighborhoods matter.

Don’t wait.  Please stop what you are doing, take 5 minutes and send an email or make a phone call.  Neighborhoods Matter!

Ian MacFarlane
President , Roland Park Civic League

Please Park Next to the Bike Lane

The following notice was issued this week by; (443-984-4095 (Office) who is our city neighborhood transportation liaison:

The Roland Avenue Resurfacing project from Cold Spring Lane to Northern Parkway has been completed. This is the first parking-protected bike lane in Baltimore City, and the Baltimore City Department of Transportation (BCDOT) would like to alert residents of the new parking pattern on Roland Avenue.  People in cars are advised to park in the parking lane next to the bike lane and not against the curb or in the striped buffer zone.
The BCDOT has alerted parking enforcement that there will be a 2 week grace period of enforcement until October 1, 2016 for residents to adjust to the new parking arrangements. After October 1, 2016, cars parking in the bike lane or the buffer may be issued a citation. The below diagram illustrates where the parking lane is placed relative to the curb as well as examples of how to park properly.

ALSO, a friendly reminder that the speed limit on Roland Avenue is 25 mph. Lower speeds makes our roads safer for everyone, especially pedestrians. We all want to arrive safely, so please be mindful to not exceed the 25mph speed limit.

Parking enforcement supervisor, Yolanda Cason has clarified the amounts of parking tickets as:  be $32 for parking in the buffer, $32-52 for parking in no stopping areas and $77 when parked in the cycle track lane. Please send requests for assistance with individual tickets to  Police patrol cars will also be issuing speeding tickets per Major Gibson, Northern District. The City’s 6 month review is expected to be complete in early 2017. The Cycle Track Committee continues to meet monthly, collect data and interface with the City’s Department of Transportation staff. Plans are underway for a related community meeting to be held later this fall, details to follow soon.

Zika spraying and bees

Andrew Marani has provided this in depth information on the topic.

The state of Maryland is now doing targeted spraying for Zika. They are using a product by Bayer called Permanone 30-30, which is very toxic to bees, among other things. A link to information about this product is below.

Currently they are not spraying Roland Park, but this can change.

You can get on an email list to be informed where and when “unscheduled” spraying is going to occur by sending an email to

You can also get spraying information on this web page, along with general mosquito information. .

And you can follow this twitter feed @MdAgMosquito and receive unschedule spraying information. Probably the simplest solution, for those with Twitter.

My advice to beekeepers in a spray area: Close up your hive before spraying begins at roughly 7:30 PM, most of the girls will be home for the evening by then. It would be best if you closed the entrance with a screen so the bees can still ventilate the hive, otherwise they will likely overheat. If the temperature is not too high (low 80s and below, at a guess) and you can shade your hive, I would also keep them in the next day. Spray water on the hive to cool it and into the entrance so the bees can use the water to do their evaporative cooling trick. If you have a water source set up for your hive, hose it out in the morning to get rid of any spray residue. As an aside, mosquito dunks are a “relatively” benign way of killing mosquito larvae in your water source with minimal harm to the bees. I am available for emailed questions.

Andrew Marani
A Roland Park bee keeper

Temporary Closure of Stony Run Path

Caroline Wayner, President of Wyndhurst Improvement Association, has forwarded along this important information from the Baltimore Department of Public Works (DPW) to the Roland Park Civic League.

While inspecting sewer lines in Tuxedo Park near the Stony Run path, DPW has found an old terra cotta pipe in danger of imminent collapse. Were it to collapse, it would severely impact the sewer system of the surrounding neighborhood. DPW is going to fix this right away, but the procedure will require the closure Stony Run path between Gladstone and Deepdene for up to two weeks. Please see the following map:

Stony Run Path Detour - Aug. 2016

The pipe in question runs from the dead-end of Colorado Avenue and under the Stony Run.

Tree removal will begin this week. The Friends of Stony Run, Blue Water Baltimore, the North Stony Run Green Team, and the City’s Urban Forestry Division are working with neighborhood groups to make sure that plenty of native trees, shrubs and other plants will replace what is removed. As it happens, much of what is being removed is invasive and undesirable.

Excavation of the dirt above the pipe, which lies 10 feet under, will begin after tree removal. Then the repairs will be made and the path rebuilt. Replanting will commence after September 15.

DPW has advised the Wyndhurst Improvement Association that all work should be finished by the start of public school, which is Monday, August 29th.

Update on Organic Debris program

Dear Neighbors,

Currently, any resident who pays Full Fees and Civic League dues is entitled to have 2 cubic yards of organic debris removed from their property monthly during the months of March, April, May, June, July, September, October, and November. The sign up form on the website previously included the following question: “Do you request pickup greater than the allowed 2 cubic yards?” If the answer was “yes” the resident was charged $45 for every additional 2 cubic yards removed from the property.

Recently, we have had a significant uptick in the number of properties from which debris well in excess of the allotted 2 cubic yards has been removed but the residents have not agreed to pay for the overages. The Civic League then has to pay for those overages. I know that sometimes the resident is not to blame for this disconnect. Neighbors who are not entitled to the service dump their debris when they see a pile. Sometimes the pile is within limits when the resident signs up but, by the time the pile is picked up, it has grown beyond the allotted amount.

While I acknowledge those problems, the Civic League simply does not have the resources to provide unlimited debris removal.

We know that the program is important to the community, so we have to find a way for it to pay for itself. Parks & People removes the entire pile from the addresses we give them. We cannot ask Parks & People to remove only 2 cubic yards from the houses that do not agree to the overage for a host of practical reasons. The fees we pay to Roads & Maintenance cover not only debris and snow removal but are what we use to repair our failing infrastructure, mainly the paths that crisscross the neighborhood and the green spaces throughout the community.

For all of these reasons, we are going to modify the organic debris program in the following manner beginning with the next pick up, which occurs in September: When a resident signs up for pick up, the resident will have to agree to pay for any overage or the resident will not be entitled to pick up. The online form has been changed to reflect this new policy. I know this may cause some hard feelings among residents who feel their neighbors are abusing the program.

The world would be a better place if every resident of Roland Park would pay Full Fees and Civic League dues. We would have the resources to operate this program and money to improve infrastructure, trim trees, etc. Until we achieve that goal, the services we offer must be limited by the budget we have. I appreciate your anticipated cooperation.

Very truly yours,

Trudy Bartel
Chair, Maintenance Committee

For information on the Organic Debris program, including where to sign up, visit this page.

This information originally appeared in the  July 21, 2016 Roland Park e-letter.

Message on Public Safety – July 2016

Dear Fellow Roland Park Community Members- as I am sure all of you are aware, our community has experienced some violent crimes in recent weeks. Indeed, I can only imagine the shock that Molly Macauley’s family, friends, and colleagues are still going through. Obviously, these events are unusual in this safe community we know and love, which has caused me – and many of you – some serious concern and to question what we could and should do to enhance our public safety. To that end, I plan on dedicating our next scheduled RPCL board meeting [Wednesday, 9/7/16, 7PM, RP Presbyterian Church, 4801 Roland Avenue] to discuss and define the problem and options.

I invite you to join us, as we, the board, need to capture all perspectives on this important issue.

At present, we are working on gathering information to define the problem and options; the former to include Police reach-out on crime statistics and trends, and the latter, for instance, on investigating additional actions we may take, such as hired security or citizens’ patrols. Just recently, at a Northern District Police event, I connected with Homeland’s citizens’ patrol leader, and I will be connecting with Guilford leaders to learn more about their community-paid security service. I realize some of these topics have arisen in the past, and while we need to learn from that past, we also must address our current situation.

Finally, although this has been a truly awful time, I now have the benefit of firsthand knowing that our Police, led by Major Gibson, are there for us and will do everything in their power to secure our safety and work with us. For that, I am very thankful. I hope to see you in early September. In the meantime, please feel free to contact your RPCL Plat representative (contact information here), be safe, and look after your neighbors.

Thank you….Ian MacFarlane, RPCL president

July 4th Parade 2016 Gallery

We were lucky this year that the rain held off until after everyone who wanted to get soaked went under the hose!

Thanks to the crew of Baltimore City Fire Department Engine 44 for bringing the fun.

Thanks to those who organized the event on behalf of the Roland Park Civic League, including Nigel Sequeira and Patti Ephriam.

Thanks to the elected officials who took part, including Delegate Sandy Rosenberg and Council President Jack Young.

Thanks to the Baltimore Sun for including the Roland Park festivities in their roundup article.

Thanks to Beth Hayes for all of these photos.


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Roland Park Footpaths featured in City Paper’s Walking Issue

This week, City Paper published The Walking issue, featuring stories about walking in Baltimore.

The features include a story about Roland Park’s footpaths.  Enjoy a walk this weekend!


Review the draft Stony Run Strategic Plan

Should you wish to download the DRAFT Plan and save it to your computer (ideal page display view is as a two-page spread, with cover page showing), there is both a high resolution and low resolution version available. Additionally, a separate PDF packet of the map exhibits are provided. 
Comments should be provided using the Draft Comments forum, and should be provided by June 30, 2016.
In reviewing this draft, please note the following:
1. Because of limited resources, the website, combined with the public meetings, walking tours, and online surveys, had been the primary source of stakeholder input. Focus group discussions with individual community associations, advocacy groups, etc. were not feasible. Review of this draft is the opportunity to comment on the recommendations and provide any necessary clarifications on background information that may be incorrect or additions of information/current initiatives that need to be included.
2. Final formatting is not complete and some introductory text and implementation text needs to be developed. You will also notice that some photos are missing or low-quality. This will be addressed.
3. Some stakeholders have commented on some of the recommendations and suggested changes following the May 23rd summary presentation but  prior to the posting of this draft. To be fair to the process and to all stakeholders who have participated, we have kept the content of the draft consistent with the presentation; however, the draft provides further detail for each recommendation. Any changes to the content will be made following the review of this draft.
4. Please consider individual recommendations in context with the entire plan and planning process.
We appreciate your input, participation in this process and commitment to Stony Run.
Mary Page Michel — President
Roland Park Community Foundation

Ciclovia 2016 cycles on through the rain

Well, we did it! Baltimore’s Ciclovia trajectory is back in motion.

There were occasional squalls and the sun almost poked through at about 2PM. One needed a jacket. Undaunted, at least 500 of us enjoyed the afternoon together. In the end, pure fun trumped the bad weather.

Thanks to the Police Dept. and Dept. of Transportation for making it safe for all of us. Thanks to our Baltimore Councilwomen Mary Pat Clarke and Sharon Green Middleton for joining us. Thanks to Caitlin Doolin and her DoT team for demo-ing the new electric bikes soon to be available to share throughout the City.Thanks to Joe Traill and Katie Gore for fixing innumerable bikes under the Joe’s Bike Shop tent. Thanks to Suzanne Frasier for updating the masses on the Roland Water Tower restoration project.

Above all, thanks to the merry band of volunteers who served one-hour shifts all up and down the three-mile course: Michael Marren, Charlie Wright, France Warner, Mary Magenta, Patrick Atwood, Dan Zywan, Megan Griffith, Tom McGilloway, Kate Kreamer, Evie Hersperger, Mary Page Michel, Richard Truelove, Caroline Wayner, Kathleen Talty, Liliana Manfredi, Chris Cortright, Andrea De Leon, Connor Cortright, Carson Cortright, Lydia Wilson, Kevin Kenny, Ellie Kenny, Chris McSherry and Elizabeth Leik.

It was a pleasure working with you all.

Shall we do it again? Send me your feedback and comments and I’ll pass them on.

Cheers to all of you and congratulations for making Ciclovia VI a great event.

Mike McQuestion